November
2nd 2010
Election day roundup: hold your nose and vote!

Posted under: American history, unhappy endings, wankers

Nuts to all of ‘em!

Well now–what cheer, good friends?  What cheer!  It’s Election Day, and I only wish I could shoulder a rifle, train on the town green, eat election cake, and quaff draughts of good beer.  Instead, I’m going to bury myself in work in the hopes that I can take off tonight to watch the returns roll in.

Some interesting observations on the current silly season:

  • Yesterday on the Baa Ram U. campus, some supporters of “Senator” Bennet had put up posters urging students to vote for him or else education funding will “go down the toilet,” complete with an illustration of–a toilet.  Except, higher education is funded by the state, not the Feds, and we’re about to elect a Democrat who–probably with the help of Dems in the state Assembly and Senate–will probably dismantle what’s left of higher education funding in my state.  In other words, it’s a two-fer for Colorado Republicans:  they’ll get higher ed defunded, and the Democrats will do it for ‘em!  Say it with me here:  Awesome!
  • I’m not big on conspiracy theories, but in all but a few outliers (interestingly, most of them PPP polls) Ken Buck has outpolled Michael Bennet in every poll since last summer.  Bennet, the incumbent unelected Democrat, has consistently trailed Buck, and he’s never broken 50 percent.  In most re-election campaigns, the commentators and the press would have long since announced that we should stick a fork in him, he’s done.  But not this time around–maybe because Bennet once again (as in the primary) had an enormous cash advantage?  Buck admittedly isn’t a polished candidate and he has made some major blunders, but it’s weird that no one talks about Bennet’s pi$$-poor showing but me (especially considering the princely wad he’s wasted to remain 1-3 points behind Buck.)  It’s still close, and it could go either way today–but those numbers don’t look good for Bennet.  (Especially since now even PPP has him losing to Buck by one point!)
  • Voting by mail is great, since the campaigns stop calling once they see that I’ve voted.  I miss the drama and the ceremony of lining up to vote–but not that much.  Although I did get two consecutive calls last night from the Betsy Markey (CO-4) and the Bennet campaigns asking me to volunteer today.  As if.
  • Oh, and by the way:  I get it that complaining about the historically historic levels of dirt and poo-flinging is all part of the ritual practice of modern politics, but these campaign ads from 1800 should debunk once and for all this ridiculous fantasy (via The Spot, via Reason TV.)

I busted a cap in his a$$!
  • Finally, let’s raise a glass in tribute to one of the the last Democrats to have a pair of stones:  Aaron Burr.  He challenged political opponent Alexander Hamilton to a duel in July 1804 and killed him!  Now that’s dirty politics, man.  Hamilton got his picture on the $10 bill as a consolation prize.  (I think I should point out that Burr lost the presidential election of 1800 to Jefferson, and then lost his campaign to be Governor of New York after winning his big duel.  So, I wouldn’t endorse pistol-packing as an electoral strategy.)

40 Comments »

40 Responses to “Election day roundup: hold your nose and vote!”

  1. Dickens Reader on 02 Nov 2010 at 7:37 am #

    Ugh.

  2. Susan on 02 Nov 2010 at 7:48 am #

    I”m with you on voting by mail. With our (long) California ballots, it makes life easier, and not getting the calls is a blessing. (Somehow CREDO didn’t figure out that I’d voted, but all the local campaigns did.)

    Not sure HOW I would have voted in 1800!

  3. Grad Student on 02 Nov 2010 at 9:17 am #

    The simple solution to the campaign calls is to not have a landline. I have had a blissfully quiet and peaceful run-up to the election.

  4. Knitting Clio on 02 Nov 2010 at 9:39 am #

    I got rid of my land line after I got a gazillion calls during the Democractic senate primary race between Joe Lieberman and Ned Lamont. Also, I’m cheap.

  5. Jonathan Rees on 02 Nov 2010 at 9:58 am #

    WARNING: SERIOUS COLORADO INSIDE BASEBALL ALERT. Skip this comment if you don’t care.

    Historiann:

    I have a terrible confession to make. I voted Bennet. I changed my mind sometime between when Ken Buck decided to say that global warming was a hoax and when he said he didn’t believe in the separation of church and state. I just couldn’t handle that, even if I did just vote for the most pathetic Democrat in my four decades on this Earth.

    More importantly, you can’t blame the Democrats for dismantling higher ed funding in this state. It started with TABOR (thank you Doug Bruce!) long before I suspect either you or I got here. Then the voters of this state protected a whole bunch of things worth protecting (like secondary school funding) but didn’t protect us. We are literally at the point where the law requires ANY legislature to cut and the only thing they can cut are Higher Ed or prisons.

    Governor to be Hickenlooper has at least made noises about finding an independent funding source for Higher Ed (and I’m quite sure that’s Joe Garcia’s influence on him), but his suggestion so far is a pathetically naive request to oil and gas companies to voluntary cough up money for this effort. While laughable in many ways, at least Hick’s heart is in the right place. On the other hand, I’m told that Tom Tancredo thinks that professors only work 13 hours per week.

  6. Profane on 02 Nov 2010 at 10:00 am #

    Given competitive races for Governor, Senate, and House, the robo-calls were coming in at the rate of 2-3 an hour on Saturday. Mercifully, I was in DC on Sunday, although I am guessing my upstairs neighbor was rather annoyed by my answering machine message by the time the evening rolled around!

  7. Historiann on 02 Nov 2010 at 10:06 am #

    Jonathan–that’s cool. It’s your vote–and Buck has been saying and doing some shockingly stupid things. My vote for him wasn’t pro-Buck, it was anti-Bennet and the corrupt cronyism that installed him (since I can’t vote against Ritter this year too.) As I have asked before, “With Democrats like Michael Bennet, who needs Republicans?” Or, to quote Harry S Truman,

    I’ve seen it happen time after time. When the Democratic candidate allows himself to be put on the defensive and starts apologizing for the New Deal and the fair Deal, and says he really doesn’t believe in them, he is sure to lose. The people don’t want a phony Democrat. If it’s a choice between a genuine Republican, and a Republican in Democratic clothing, the people will choose the genuine article, every time; that is, they will take a Republican before they will a phony Democrat, and I don’t want any phony Democratic candidates in this campaign.

    No, it’s not Hick’s or the Dems’ fault entirely that we’re in this sorry mess. But I’m pretty sure that if the Dems in this state had more political courage we wouldn’t be in this mess, either. I’m utterly disgusted by Bennet’s ads trying to scare women into voting for him–as if he’s ever done anything for women in this state but his wife and daughters.

  8. koshem Bos on 02 Nov 2010 at 10:48 am #

    The communist candidate for president in France in 1968 was Jacques Duclos. He said that the choice between the two other candidates, ala Dems and Repus, is a choice between the plague and aids. (I modified the diseases to reflect todays reality.)

    Today some of us choose the poison.

  9. Indyanna on 02 Nov 2010 at 11:41 am #

    You can’t get swilled with bumbo if you vote by mail (unless it’s your own bumbo, that is, which don’t hardly count). So I trudge down to the local church in hopes that some honorable worthy will fill my puncheon and say “Friend, Indyanna, I’ll treasure the memory of your vote for the rest of my days.” Hasn’t happened yet.

    I was going to shift all my early money to the Rockies to finish first in next spring’s Cactus League, but that inside baseball stuff is *so* inside I can’t figure it, and so can’t afford the risk.

  10. Historiann on 02 Nov 2010 at 2:19 pm #

    “Swill’d with bumbo”–yeah, that hasn’t happened to me yet, either. It’d be fair to trade a vote for a snort, quite frankly–at least I’d get something back for it, guaranteed!

  11. Comrade PhysioProf on 02 Nov 2010 at 3:23 pm #

  12. Comrade PhysioProf on 02 Nov 2010 at 3:33 pm #

    AHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!!!!!!! That 1800 presidential election video is fucken hilarious!!!! If I ever run for office, my campaign slogan is gonna be “Comrade PhysioProf pledges to Keep Writhing Children Off Pikes!”

  13. KC on 02 Nov 2010 at 4:24 pm #

    I didn’t have any compelling or close races to vote on, so I was able to use some of my vote for third-party candidates that I like.

    But it looks like it will be a bad day for Democrats. Awhile back I was reading through your achives, Historiann, curious about how you perceived the 2008 elections (okay, I was procrastinating, but anyway…) You had an insightful post about how Obama, during the campaign needed to shift from a “being” leader to a “doing” leader. That he had to, at some point, pivot away from his compelling personal narrative and soaring rhetoric and get down to a more technocratic level in terms of governance.

    Reading that, I thought that a lot of the Democratic party’s shortcomings during the past two years can be related to this shift by Obama. Because, I would argue, forces did make him shift. The euphoria of electing a black president was bound to give way to more quotidian concerns, anyway. And I think in making that shift, away from identity and towards policy, he lost the narrative and failed to communicate effectively. There are lots of good critiques that can be made of Obama’s policies while in office, but what I would regard as genuine achievements have been undersold by the administration. Simply put, I don’t think most people know about the stuff he’s done. He hasn’t communicated it very well. The health care bill is indicative of this. Complicated, confusing, I’m sure most Americans don’t understand it and don’t know what’s in it. Likewise, most Americans, at least according to polls, seem to believe that Obama has raised taxes. So I think that in this shift, Obama has just failed to communicate, or has allowed himself to be drowned out of the public square. Anyway, just my take.

  14. Indyanna on 02 Nov 2010 at 5:06 pm #

    Indeed, the NY Times sent a reporter to a Red State pig roast a couple of weeks back, and he even got an Iced Tea Partier to admit that he’d gotten a stealth tax cut from a president who was Born on Mars!

    excerpt below:
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    (October 18, 2010, c. NYT)

    HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. — What if a president cut Americans’ income taxes by $116 billion and nobody noticed?

    It is not a rhetorical question. At Pig Pickin’ and Politickin’, a barbecue-fed rally organized here last week by a Republican women’s club, a half-dozen guests were asked by a reporter what had happened to their taxes since President Obama took office.

    “Federal and state have both gone up,” said Bob Paratore, 59, from nearby Charlotte, echoing the comments of others.

    After further prodding — including a reminder that a provision of the stimulus bill had cut taxes for 95 percent of working families by changing withholding rates — Mr. Paratore’s memory was jogged.

    “You’re right, you’re right,” he said. “I’ll be honest with you: it was so subtle that personally, I didn’t notice it.”

    Few people apparently did.

    In a troubling sign for Democrats as they [whatever happens next...]

  15. Historiann on 02 Nov 2010 at 5:43 pm #

    Thanks, KC. Unfortunately, my sense of Obama in 2007-08 has borne out I think. Your point about how he has tried (or been forced) to shift out of embodying leadership into actually doing it is an interesting one. I agree that the transition from campaigning to governing has been a rough one for this WH, in large part because I don’t get the sense Obama had any agenda beyond bringing the country together around his awesomeness. That might be a little uncharitable, but he often seems surprised that anyone expects him to do more than just preside. (The Gulf Oil catastrophe last spring and summer comes to mind.)

    This opinion piece by Dorothy Rabinowitz sums it up pretty well, IMHO, although she’s coming from the right. (She’s on the editorial board of the WSJ, anyway.) Although I had to laugh at her lede paragraph:


    “Whatever the outcome of today’s election, this much is clear: It will be a long time before Americans ever again decide that the leadership of the nation should go to a legislator of negligible experience—with a voting record, as state and U.S. senator, consisting largely of “present,” and an election platform based on glowing promises of transcendence. A platform vowing, unforgettably, to restore us—a country lost to arrogance and crimes against humanity—to a place of respect in the world.”

    Well, *I* would have thought that George W. Bush’s unfortunate presidency would have at least convinced DEMOCRATS that experience and a proven track record of leadership and accomplishments mattered–but look how wrong I was! (There, I said it: I was WRONG!) At least, my memory of the early 2000s was of a bunch of Democratic citizens walking around slapping their hands on their foreheads in disbelief and disgust as they endlessly carped about Bush’s inexperience and incompetence. I hope everyone’s slappin’ hands are strong and in good shape, because it looks like we’ll have to keep on slappin’.

    As the Great Sage of Crawford once said, “Fool me once. . . “

  16. Historiann on 02 Nov 2010 at 5:48 pm #

    Oh, and FWIW, the post that KC mentioned is here. As I recall, I spent a lot of the 2008 election pointing out that sitting back and being awesome wasn’t a confidence-inspiring electoral strategy, but whatever.

    We get the Presidents we deserve, I suppose.

  17. KC on 02 Nov 2010 at 6:26 pm #

    Thanks, Historiann. I think I’m a little bit more charitable to Obama than you, although overall I’m a little disappointed in him. (Okay, more than a little). IMO, the biggest problem with the health care bill was that it didn’t seem like there was a coherent vision for it. The White House was so concerned with “process” that it ended up ceding the keys to (at various points in the debate) the Olympia Snowes, the Ben Nelsons, the Joseph Liebermans, etc.

    My take on Obama is that he is trying very hard to govern through difficult times, and that he has an approach to his position that is at times too passive. He seems to be more and more contemptuous of the left (or, rather, the “professional left.”) The real disconnect in our politics through all this is that the hordes of voters out there tonight are convinced he’s a socialist, whereas most of the people on the left regard him as a corporatist moderate.

    That said, I do think Obama has some achievements that perhaps have made this all worthwhile, although one could argue that another Democrat (maybe Clinton, although really her own presidency would have created its own insane backlash as well) might have done better. And, I don’t really see him losing in 2012; the Republican presidential roster is looking really pathetic these days.

  18. Profane on 02 Nov 2010 at 6:32 pm #

    The WV Senate race was just called for Manchin, which means that the Democrats should retain control of the Senate.

  19. Profane on 02 Nov 2010 at 6:35 pm #

    Tom Perriello has lost in VA – this is one of the seats that Obama tried to save in the last days of the campaign.

  20. Historiann on 02 Nov 2010 at 7:58 pm #

    It’s nearly 10 EDT/8 MDT. The Buck campaign looks pretty festive over in Loveland. I haven’t heard or seen anything about the Bennet party.

    Looks like the long-predicted bloodbath for the Dems. Let the night of the long knives begin.

    Fratguy and I agree: Congress is going to look like a jailbreak for the next 2 years. Much as I’m happy to see the Dems lose, I’m not eager to see Republicans win. (It’s a win on unforced errors–far from something to brag about.)

  21. a little night musing on 02 Nov 2010 at 8:17 pm #

    “Win on unforced errors” – the perfect description!

    I at least got to vote for one person I deeply respect in this election (Eric Schneiderman for NY Attorney General), but as for the rest… I’m just going to bed tonight without looking at the returns. We also had a “screwed either way” contest here with regard to support for public education, and the students at our public university did not show much enthusiasm for voting this time around. I am reminded of Tom Lehrer’s line about feeling like a Christian Scientist with appendicitis.

  22. Profane on 02 Nov 2010 at 8:51 pm #

    It has been a Dem bloodbath here in NEPA. The majority leader of the PA house, 8-term incumbent Todd Eachus, has lost to a 31 year old political neophyte, Tarah Toohill. In the House of Representatives, two-term incumbent Chris Carney has lost in the 10th district, and 13-term incumbent Paul Kanjorski has lost in the 11th district. Republican Tom Corbett will be our new governor. Republican Pat Toomey holds just a narrow lead in the Senate race, but most of the democratic strongholds have already reported.

    And on other fronts, say goodbye to Alan Grayson, Russ Feingold, and Carol Shea-Porter amongst others. . .

  23. Susan on 02 Nov 2010 at 8:56 pm #

    OK, there’s the serious stuff, but but as I sit in California, the question is, what will happen with PROP 19?
    One of the office staff is a farmer’s wife, and she said to me this afternoon, “If it passes, we’re planting!”

    As for the rest, the larger political question is how do we do a reverse Howard Jarvis, and create a political movement around the provision of a wide range of services to citizens? Is it possible?

  24. Historiann on 02 Nov 2010 at 9:04 pm #

    Susan–if 19 passes, you’ll just have to become (after the Steve Miller Band) a “midnight toker.”

    Awesome!

    I think your second question is a good one. Much as I would prefer Brown to Whitman, I don’t see that he has the energy or the stones to lead the anti-Jarvis movement. We need one of ‘em here in Colorado, and I don’t see our new Gov Elect Hickenlooper doing anything like that.

    But, as I often do, I hope I’m wrong.

  25. Historiann on 02 Nov 2010 at 9:05 pm #

    And Profane: what’s your prediction on Toomey? I thought he was going to win it in a walk, but it still looks close. (Do the cities report sooner than the in-between parts? That’s what I think happens in a lot of states.)

  26. Profane on 02 Nov 2010 at 9:41 pm #

    I think Toomey has it. He is up by 55,000 votes with 98.3% reporting, and the only counties which have significant numbers of votes to report are Toomey counties.

  27. Historiann on 02 Nov 2010 at 9:46 pm #

    Makes sense to me. Sestak ran a closer race than the polls suggested, so good on him. But as we say out here on the ranch, close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.

  28. Indyanna on 02 Nov 2010 at 9:58 pm #

    Reporting from another part of PA, it looks like we saved the “Murtha” seat, now held by an ex-staffer. Hard to say about Sestak. The Philadelphia suburban counties fell short of the mark. Indeed, Bucks–to my surprise, as a former native–relapsed back into its Republican habits. Be interesting to see where Ed Rendell goes now. I can’t really see him of counsel rainmaking for some white shoe firm, but you never know. He’ll drive you almost as crazy as Specter did some of the time, and he wasn’t exactly shoveling money into the education sector back here, but I think the Dems need his strategic sensibilities somewhere.

  29. Susan on 02 Nov 2010 at 10:13 pm #

    Well, Historiann, I’m not counting on pols to do it. Jarvis was a gadfly, and an organizer, not an elected pol. A movement like that will support the Hickenloopers and Browns of this world… but they won’t lead it. Any more than Reagan ran the Prop 13 movement.

    It looks like 19 will go down, but 25 — which allows the budget to pass with only a majority — will pass. That is very good news. If Whitman goes down, it will finally prove that money helps in politics, but it’s not all that matters.

  30. Historiann on 02 Nov 2010 at 10:47 pm #

    Susan, you’re right that that’s how movements work. Pols aren’t really leaders–the good ones know how to jump ahead of a parade. But the movement has to come from below. (Like the Tea Party!)

    Yes, getting your majority budget is a really big deal. So, good for California on that one.

  31. cgeye on 03 Nov 2010 at 1:36 am #

    Historiann, should Bennet not survive the challenges and lawsuits Buck will file, where will he land, in public life? I guess school board member is right out, huh?

  32. Historiann on 03 Nov 2010 at 4:50 am #

    Hee. I have no idea what Bennet will do. I don’t get the impression that there’s a lot of love or loyalty for the guy–so I don’t see more public service as an immediate option for him. He’s got a law degree, right? So my bet is that he’ll do what all Colorado retired or defeated pols do, and go to work for a big firm in Denver and make a lot of money. It’s a pretty nice golden parachute, when you think about it.

    But of course, he’s not been defeated. Buck couldn’t get this thing over the finish line in a huge R wave election, which speaks to his weaknesses as a candidate. Today should be interesting!

  33. Historiann on 03 Nov 2010 at 4:58 am #

    Then again too, the weak Buck showing may also be credited to the Republican implosion at the top of the ticket. I see that Dan Maes has just barely avoided dooming the Republicans to minority-party status in the state.

    Bennet undoubtedly benefited from Hick’s cakewalk to the governor’s office.

  34. Profane on 03 Nov 2010 at 6:27 am #

    My impulse going into this election was that the losses would be great for the Democratic party, and for Obama if he changed tack along the lines of Clinton. On the morning after the night before, it strikes me that this was a near perfect result – for the Republicans:

    1. Angle and O’Donnell both lost, and it looks like Miller lost in Alaska. This removes the possibility that there will be a Tea Party Boogeyman in the Senate, which could have rallied Democrats, and aided their fundraising efforts. This may also strengthen the Tea Party movement, if they realize that vetting candidates is a necessity.
    2. Harry Reid won, and the Senate remains in Democratic control. In other words, Harry Reid will still be around to beat up, and the decrease in the Senate majority means that he will be even less able (he was already near-incompetent – even when he had a filibuster-proof majority) to pass any significant business through the Senate.
    3. Republican control of the House means that there is a 0% chance that any progressive legislation will pass in the next two years – and the Obama administration must now brace itself for subpoena hell.

  35. Historiann on 03 Nov 2010 at 7:01 am #

    I think you’re exactly right, Profane. The weak tea candidates are outta there, but the Dems will still be left holding the bag.

    Here in Colorado, I always thought Ken Buck was being unfairly lumped with the Senate candidates you mention from DE, NV, and AK. Unlike them, he’s had a real job and a record in public service as a US Attorney and DA. (Angle I realize was a state legislator, but not a terribly serious or impressive one.) I don’t agree with Buck on much of anything, but I think he should be recognized for the serious grown-up that he is. If he ends up squeaking it out, I think he’ll grow in office and improve as a politician. But you have to remember: he was the long-shot going up against the establishment candidate (Jane Norton), so until last spring he wasn’t used to talking to anyone but the Greeley Tribune.

  36. Tom on 03 Nov 2010 at 8:29 am #

    My wife will probably be happy to hear that Joe Sestak did not win in PA, if only because every time I hear his name on the tv, I shout out “Sleestak!” But I’ll be sorry to not be able to say there’s a Sleestak in the Senate.

  37. Anonymous on 03 Nov 2010 at 11:29 am #

    Politico agrees:

    “Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell just got the best of both worlds.

    The Kentucky Republican is now in charge of a larger, more influential Republican caucus that has the power to easily block President Barack Obama’s agenda. Yet McConnell still remains the minority leader, meaning that he can rock the boat but bear no responsibility for making tough decisions on a policy agenda and legislative priorities that would surely divide his more diverse Senate Republican Conference.”

    http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1110/44616.html

  38. Historiann on 03 Nov 2010 at 12:20 pm #

    This one’s for Tom and Rose. What the hell is a “routine expedition?”

  39. Indyanna on 03 Nov 2010 at 4:38 pm #

    On subpoenas: Damn it, I want you all to stonewall it! You can always say “I don’t remember.” You can always say “I forget.”

    I’ll be interested to see what this dood, “Write-In” from Alaska does. Everybody assumes it must be Murkowski, and probably it is. But maybe it’s a statcha of Liberty play, some wildcatter from the North Slope, running to daylight to provide blog fodder for the next six years.

    Pennsylvania got hammered, pretty much like the rest of youse-all (or “yinz-all,” as they say here in the west). But I don’t sense any underlying change in the basic stratigraphy or tectonics. I’m guessing this will all seem pretty epiphenomenal a little ways down the road.

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